Elementary students enjoy seeing opera

Posted March 14, 2014 at 4:38 pm

By Steve Peterson

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Opera Iowa presented “The Three Little Pigs” to West Sioux Elementary School students March 7. Gathering at the opera’s conclusion were cast members, from l to r: Alex Soare, Zach Ballard, Stephanie Schoenhofer, Bevin Hill and Josh Wheeker. Hawarden Arts Council funded the performance.

“Bravo, bravo” the audience of West Sioux Elementary School student shouted as Iowa Opera’s performance of “Three Little Pigs” came to a close.

The Des Moines-based and part of Des Moines Metro Opera, Iowa Opera has been working on the opera version of “Three Little Pigs” arranged by James Davies for about three weeks, said pianist and Musical Director Scott Arens.

“The students really eat up ‘Three Little Pigs.’ It’s a story they all know,” said Arens.

In the fairy tale, the third pig built his house out of brick which survived after others fell despite the pigs saying, ‘not a hair on my chinny chin chin’.”

The cast consists of Stephanie Schoenhofer as teacher “Mrs. Dibbs”; Josh Wheeker as one pig; Alex Soare as The Big Bad Wolf; Zach Ballard as a second pig and Bevin Hill as the third pig. Wheeker, Hill and Arens explained some terms of the opera at one of the pre-production workshops, such as aria, duet, trio and quartet parts; the importance of costume, sets and designs.

Hawarden Arts Council supported the performance.

“The more you know opera, the more you will enjoy it,” said Arens.

“It is fiction but why – pigs can’t build houses, wolves can’t blow down houses,” said Hill.

“In the end the wolf learns that we should all get along as friends,” said Hill.

“The morale of our story is if something scares you then you can always check out about it at the library,” said Wheeker.

At the performance, teacher Jill Orban’s work paid off in music class as the students sang a chorus.

Arens, who lives in Yankton, S.D., said that actors audition for “Iowa Opera” and the group has been around for more than 25 years.

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